Our family loves Christmas. As soon as Thanksgiving is over (and sometimes even a few days before - don't tell anyone), we go into full-on Christmas mode. It all starts with setting up our Nativity. We have an olive wood Nativity that I bought in Bethlehem several years ago. One year, while we were setting it up, we thought we had all the pieces in place, but then Kate, our youngest daughter, looked in the box and said, "Where's Jesus?" The shepherds were there, Mary & Joseph were there, even the lowing cattle were there, but we couldn't find Jesus anywhere! We spent the next few days searching all over for Jesus until we finally found Him tucked away in the bottom drawer of an end table in our living room. We assumed that when we packed up the year before, everything but Jesus must have made it back in the box and although we thought we would remember where we put Him, we obviously did not.
Today, Christmas is filled with a lot of things, and much of it is pretty special - I love the cookies (Lisa makes the best Christmas cookies!), the movies, the tree, the stockings, the gifts (especially the ones that say "To Dad" with handmade cards from my girls), the ringing bells, the commercials, and more! Yet, with everything that Christmas has become, sometimes we come back to that simple question, "Where's Jesus?" Even though Jesus literally puts the "Christ" in "Christmas," sometimes He gets lost in the trappings of the season. So often we spend time finding the right tree, choosing the right gifts, putting up the twinkling lights, and cooking elaborate meals, but isn't it supposed to be all about Jesus? It is His birthday we are celebrating, after all. If someone were to look in our homes (and in our lives), would they be able to find Jesus there?
"Where's Jesus?" is a simple question with a profound and life-impacting answer. Can you find Him in our society? Do you hear Him in "Happy Holidays" or see Him in "Christmas movies?" Are people talking about Him at office Christmas parties or at family members' homes? Where's Jesus? If He is not at the center of your home, or your heart, then stop and do a search. Don't get distracted, but spend whatever time it takes to push past the tree, the lights, the gifts and the stockings and seek the One who is responsible for it all. Read the Christmas story and how love came down to us. Thank Him for all He has done, and is doing, for you and your family. Share with those less fortunate instead of simply amassing more and more stuff you don't need. Find Jesus this Christmas. Then, invite Him to take center stage in your home and your heart. Talk about Him with your family. Prioritize His Birth among your friends. Invite people around you to church, so they too can celebrate the gift that is Christmas. You see, when Jesus is the first thing you put in your home, and in your heart, you begin to see Christmas differently. All of a sudden, everything doesn't have to be perfect, because He is. You find yourself more patient, full of joy and overwhelmed with love. You begin to focus on what Christmas is really all about.
In Luke 15, Jesus told 3 parables about something being lost - a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. In all three of these stories, when what was lost was found there was great rejoicing. The Shepherd, the woman and the Father all had giant parties and celebrated that what was lost was in it's rightful place again. Let's put Jesus in His rightful place again this Christmas. Let's rejoice that He was born in Bethlehem, but even more that He is alive in our heart. Let's celebrate as we find Jesus and make Him the focus of our homes and our life. "Where's Jesus?" He's right where you left Him. Now, don't leave Him in a drawer, but place Him on the throne of your heart, and your Christmas. Then, rejoice!
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